The holiday selling season is officially upon us and we have some hard decisions to make. What do we stock? What promotions do we run? What is going to be hot this holiday season? These are all decisions that can make us successful or a failure with our holiday campaign. So, what is your approach this holiday season? Let’s look at what you should be doing right now in order to maximize your sales and finish this calendar year off strong.
Inventory — Yes, it is the end of the year, and you will be paying tax on the inventory you have on the books as of December 31, but don’t let that cripple your buying decisions. The goal is to reduce your inventory by years end, not to stop selling until years end. What you sell will depend heavily on what you stock. I’ll give you a hint, it’s not the stale inventory that you haven’t sold all year long that will become magically appealing to a Christmas shopper. You need to think like a consumer. What are some items that people have been pushing off that the holiday could give them incentive to buy? What would one of your customers buy for a loved one that came from his/her heart? Casuals, toys, consumer electronics and, of course, the all-to-popular gift cards are all categories that need to be expanded this season. Expanded. You should always have a small selection of these in stock, but just like other seasonally appropriate items, they need to be stocked wider this season in order to capitalize on the sales. If you are looking at the same three toys you have been looking at all year, you are not ready. Bring in some that are smaller, some that are bigger, kits of bikes with trailers, toys branded with manufacturers that you don’t even sell. Fatten all these categories up in order to capitalize best on both shoppers and impulse buys.
In-store marketing — Get in the holiday spirit! If your menorah only has six candles left because it has been thrown around for the last 20 years it is time to buy a new one. But don’t stop with just a few decorations. Build your endcaps with holiday themes and incorporate product into them, make special and inexpensive holiday tags or starbursts to advertise product, wrap sections of slatwall with gift wrap, put those small $10 toys and gift cards right by the cash wrap and sell! Your goal is to put the consumer in the holiday shopping frame of mind and make it easy for them to navigate the holiday items and next to impossible for them not to purchase something. Still don’t have it in stock? Now is the time to make sure you are set up with your vendors’ drop ship program in order to save your holiday shoppers’ precious time and minimize the lost sales due to you not having it in stock. Help your consumer cross that item off their list. Help them buy!
Advertising — Let’s face it, we have some stiff competition out there. Big box retailers, online sellers, manufacturers and a myriad of others are competing for our consumer’s precious dollar. This can be very intimidating and discouraging to go up against. I’m going to let you in on a little secret — they all fear you! You are the dealer who has a personal relationship with your customers. You are dealer who can respond to your customers objections and address their concerns right on the spot. You are the dealer who gets the last look at the deal and gets to choose to take it or pass it up. Remember how much it drives you crazy when a customer comes in and shows you an online price and requests a match? This is your opportunity to steal it away from the big box or online retailers. My point? Stand up to them with confidence. Advertise your Black Friday and holiday deals proudly. Put your 25- and 10-day deals on social media (FB, Instagram, Twitter, etc) and online marketplaces (Craigslist, LetGo, FB marketplace, and don’t forget your own company website) aggressively. Make it easy for customers to buy online. How hard is it to ship a gift card? Even if you aren’t set up for e-commerce, set up a hyperlink that records a customer's info and emails you with it. You can call them for their CC, you don’t even have to take it over the net. You can even use Survey Monkey for free for this.
This is the most important time of year in the retail world. Your competition is not going to roll over and die and hand it to you. You have to prepare for the fight, engage in the fight and stay committed until the end if you want to this holiday season to be a success.
P.S. Please reach out to me at Ntetreault@tuckerrocky.com for a list of popular holiday items for your store.
Napoleon Tetreault is a sales representative with Tucker Rocky, an aftermarket PG&A distributor in the powersports industry. He works with powersports retailers on merchandising, profitability and management of the parts department as well as the education of dealership personnel. His experience includes being the GM of the largest indoor motocross facility in the U.S., owner/operator of a regional distribution company and current role with Tucker Rocky. He can be reached at: